John A. Dix, 1865

Dec. 28, 2020

John A. Dix, 1865

John A. Dix (1798-1879):  Dix was appointed to be the 24th Secretary of the Treasury and served in that capacity from January 15, 1861 until March 6, 1861.  Dix was a former postmaster and Senator from New York, and was reputed to be "a cultivated writer, a fluent vigorous speaker, a man of great courage, prompt decision and proved executive ability." Entering office during a financial panic, he quickly obtained the much needed loans from banks and the American people that his predecessor had failed to secure.  He won further confidence in the North by dispatching a message to a Treasury customs official in New Orleans to take possession of a Treasury Department revenue cutter there.  "If anyone attempts to haul down the American flag," he ordered, "shoot him on the spot."  Dix was in office less than three months, resigning at the end of Buchanan's presidency.  Buchanan's successor, President Abraham Lincoln, rewarded his performance as Secretary of the Treasury with the commission of Major General in charge of Alexandria and Arlington, Virginia during the Civil War.

Builder: J. Murphy, Newburgh, New York

Length: 144'

Beam: 26'

Draft: 11' 6"

Displacement: 290 tons

Cost: $


Commissioned: 1865

Decommissioned: 1872

Disposition: Sold

Machinery: Walking-beam steam engine; side paddle-wheels


          Maximum Speed:
          Economic/Cruising Speed:


Armament: 2 guns, unknown type and caliber

Cutter History:

The John A. Dix was a side-wheel steam cutter that was based on the Great Lakes.  She operated from Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan and spent the winters at Detroit.

She was decommissioned and sold in 1872.  The cutter Wilderness assumed the name Dix in 1873.


Cutter History File.  USCG Historian's Office, USCG HQ, Washington, D.C.

Donald Canney.  U.S. Coast Guard and Revenue Cutters, 1790-1935.  Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1995.

U.S. Coast Guard.  Record of Movements: Vessels of the United States Coast Guard: 1790 - December 31, 1933.  Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1934; 1989 (reprint).